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Elevating the profile of IQMH volunteers

By Editor on 7/6/2021

Dr. Ronald BoothIQMH brings together experts in the field of laboratory medicine to elevate confidence in the healthcare system.

The IQMH Proficiency Testing Scientific Committees are composed of physicians, technologists and scientists who provide advice to IQMH regarding the fundamental design of Proficiency Testing surveys and ensure that clinically-relevant selection of challenges and appropriate performance evaluation are developed and implemented each year.

IQMH is grateful for the commitment and support of the medical laboratory community and appreciates all the volunteers who donate their time and valuable expertise to our programs.

It’s our privilege to recognize Dr. Ronald A. Booth, (PhD, FCACB, FAACC), who has served IQMH as a volunteer since 2009.

Dr. Ronald A. Booth, PhD, FCACB, FAACC

Dr. Booth is a certified specialist in Clinical Chemistry and a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Clinical Biochemists. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Ottawa and Clinical Biochemist at the Ottawa Hospital and Eastern Ontario Regional Laboratory Association (EORLA) where he directs the Immunology and Neurobiomarkers Section of the EORLA regional laboratory. He also acts as the Medical Laboratory Director for the Cornwall Community Hospital and Clinical Biochemistry consultant for Queensway Carleton and Montfort hospitals.

Dr. Booth has co-authored over 40 peer-reviewed scientific articles, four scientific book chapters, presented over 30 lectures and workshops at national and international scientific meetings focusing on the areas of immunology, neurodegeneration and protein electrophoresis. He has a strong research interest in neuro and immune biomarkers and has made significant contributions in laboratory-based diagnostics through primary clinical research and systematic reviews, including use of brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) in heart failure and pharmacogenomic screening prior to azathioprine treatment.

His expertise in laboratory medicine has provided the opportunity to sit as an expert member of the Health Technology Expert Review Panel (HTERP) for the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH), and as a scientific member and current Chair of the IQMH Endocrinology and Immunology Scientific Committee. He is also the founder and chair of the Canadian Society of Clinical Chemists Monoclonal Gammopathy Working Group.

Professionally, Dr. Booth was the Treasurer of the Canadian Society of Clinical Chemists (CSCC) and most recently, the President of the Ontario Society of Clinical Chemists. In 2009 he received the Donald J. Campbell Award for Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Biochemistry from the Alberta Society of Clinical Chemists.

We asked Dr. Booth the following questions about his volunteer experience and here's how he responded:

Which committee do you volunteer on and in which capacity?

I began my tenure at IQMH on the Endocrinology and Immunology Scientific Committee in 2009. At that time, the committee also included the review of prenatal screening testing. I was recruited to this committee because of my experience in immunology and autoimmune diagnostic testing. Interestingly, the laboratory section where diagnostic immunology testing occurs varies quite a bit from lab-to-lab. I have seen it as a stand-alone section, as part of biochemistry, hematology or even pathology. The medical professionals that oversee the immunology section is also varied and includes clinical/medical biochemists, anatomic pathologists or hematopathologists who may have an interest in immunology or possibly not. Many immunology labs lack a dedicated clinical immunologist, hence the oversight by a variety of specialties. This lack of consistency can make it difficult to find dedicated clinical immunology specialists. Although I am not a dedicated immunologist, I have spent most of my professional career in immunology.

When I joined the Endocrinology and Immunology committee there was only one other member with any significant experience in immunology diagnostics. We worked together to improve and expand the surveys to include a broader array of immunology testing and added interpretive images with detailed clinical and diagnostic information to the committee comments to help laboratories understand and improve their diagnostic immunology testing.

Eventually, I became Vice-chair and then Chair of the committee, continuing to work with the members to enhance both immunology and endocrinology surveys. Over the years, we have added a number of analytes to improve and broaden the applicability of our survey. Finally, I just started my tenure as the Chair of the Professional Advisory Committee. I’m looking forward to deeper involvement with IQMH.

Do you volunteer in any other capacity on other committees with professional organizations?

Committee work does keep me busy. From 2007 to 2010 I was a councillor for the Ontario Society of Clinical Chemists and President from 2018 to 2019. I was a member of the Canadian Society of Clinical Chemists Executive Committee as Treasurer from 2008 to 2014. I founded the Canadian Society of Clinical Chemists Monoclonal Gammopathy Working Group in 2018 to develop Canadian reporting standards for protein electrophoresis and am the Chair of the Canadian Society of Clinical Chemists Monoclonal Gammopathy Interests Group which has yearly meetings to discuss laboratory testing associated with monoclonal gammopathies. I also had the privilege of being an Expert Member of the Health Technology Expert Review Panel (HTERP) of The Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) from 2012 to 2016. The most recent committee I am part of is the Test Review and Utilization Committee of Ontario (TRUC) at the Laboratories and Genetics Branch of the Ministry of Health.

Do you have any achievements that you are particularly proud of? Has your committee contributed to quality improvements in some way?

I think my biggest accomplishment is the creation of the CSCC Monoclonal Gammopathy Working Group to help standardize protein electrophoresis reporting. Much effort has been made by hematologists to standardize the diagnosis and treatment of myeloma and related conditions, but very little has been done on laboratory reporting. Our group put a lot of effort to develop as comprehensive set of preliminary recommendations, but more work is needed to finalize the recommendations and implement them across Canada. In speaking with clinical hematologists, they universally agree standardization of laboratory reporting would improve myeloma diagnosis and follow-up.

With regards to our IQMH committee, I think we have made some great strides in improving the quality of endocrinology and particularly immunology proficiency testing. We have implemented some new analytes, improved the way we score laboratories and now provide enhanced information and education in educational committee comments. I have had some anecdotal feedback that laboratories do indeed find the added information valuable.

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